The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman AlexieIn this darkly comic short story collection, Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur dAlene Indian, brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spoke Indian Reservation. These 22 interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with passion and affection, myth and dream. There is Victor, who as a nine-year-old crawled between his unconscious parents hoping that the alcohol seeping through their skins might help him sleep. Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who tells his stories long after people stop listening, and Jimmy Many Horses, dying of cancer, who writes letters on stationary that reads From the Death Bed of James Many Horses III, even though he actually writes them on his kitchen table. Against a backdrop of alcohol, car accidents, laughter, and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, men and women, and most poetically, between modern Indians and the traditions of the past.
Essays on The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Throughout the collection, Alexie suggests that the most intense relationships often combine elements of both love and hate. He introduces this concept in "Every Little Hurricane", when Victor interprets his uncles' bloody fistfight as an expression of love. Norma and Jimmy Many Horses ' marriage is another example of this kind of conflicted relationship. They love each other and are deeply compatible, but in "The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor", Norma leaves Jimmy briefly because she cannot stand his lighthearted attitude toward his own terminal cancer. Yet despite her frustration, Norma eventually returns to Jimmy because their love outweighs even the biggest flaws in their relationship. Through this story, Alexie demonstrates that if love is true, it can overcome a substantial amount of hate. Each story in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven showcases the hardships of Native American life in the late 20th century many of which still exist today.
As Victor watches his uncles Arnold and Adolph fistfight in the middle of an approaching hurricane, he notes how the rise and fall of their violence against one another mirrors the trajectory of the storm—it is unthinking, destructive, and undoubtedly a force…. In the face of a ravaged cultural landscape, Alexie stresses in nearly each story the importance of four vital acts to the Native American community of his youth: remembering, witnessing, telling stories, and imagining the future. The tension between action and…. The recurring characters that make up the world of The Lone Ranger and Tonto are often in conflict with their inner selves as well as their community. We see characters again and again at several very different points throughout their life—namely Victor , who functions as a stand-in of sorts for Alexie himself—and come to understand them through several perspectives, disjointed in time, place, and point of view but nonetheless interconnected.
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Found it beautifully written. His work is very thought provoking and yet, gives great insight to life on the reservation from a unique perspective. A wake-up call for those who know nothing about life on the reservation in modern times. Very inspiring, and heart-rending. Alexie writes delightful prose. It reminds me of some of Ray Brabury's short stories. I lived with the Navajos for a year and saw similar situations Alexie writes about.
Arguably, the most important movement currently is BlackLivesMatter. The main idea being that the black-skinned individuals in this country are as valuable as any other individual. Although the movement has made its way across the world, it is most prominent in America. This movement was born after some events occurred involving individuals of color being mistreated by police because of the color of their skin. Among the important issues of the BlackLivesMatter movement are situations involving racial profiling and the stereotypes that exist within our community.
The collection was originally released in ; it was reissued in , with two new stories, by Grove Atlantic Press. Composed of twenty-two interconnected stories with recurring characters, the work is often described by critics as a short-story collection, though some argue that it has novel-like features similar to Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine. The book's central characters, Victor Joseph and Thomas Builds-the-Fire, are two young Native-American men living on the Spokane Indian Reservation , and the stories describe their relationships, desires, and histories with family members and others who live on the reservation. Alexie fuses surreal imagery, flashbacks, dream sequences, diary entries, and extended poetic passages with his storytelling to create tales that resemble prose poems more than conventional narratives. The book's title is derived from one of the collection's stories, which details the experience of a Native American who leaves the reservation to live in Seattle with his white girlfriend and then moves back. The names are taken from a popular radio show which first aired in , later leading to a series of books and then a television show in the s in which a white man, the Lone Ranger, teams up with an Indian, Tonto, to battle evil in the old west.